Daily Archives: April 23, 2010

About Sambalpur

Sambalpur has a greate history of full of events including Indian Freedom Struggle representing the different section of society. For the sake of convenience, however, the history, with special reference to the spark and fire and Nationalism, may be stated briefly.

History has to say that Samudragupta in the 4th century, defeated King Mahendra of Koshala, the kingdom that included Sambalpur. During the 5th and 6th centuries Sambalpur came under the rule of Sarbhapuriyas. Towards the 7th century it passed in to the hands of Panduvansi king Trivaradeva. Towards the close of 9th century king Janmajaya I Mahabhavagupta extended his empire which comprised the modern districts of Sambalpur and Bolangir. Hence forward, his dynasty came to be known as the Samavansi dynasty. During the last part of the Samavansi rule, Sambalpur was occupied by the Kalachuris of Ratnapua. The 13th century saw a bitter fight between the Kalachuris and the Gandas. Later on, the Gandas occupied Sambalpur.

During the middle of the 14th century Ramai Dev laid the foundation of the Chauhan rule in Western Orissa. However, the Chowhan rule came to a close in april,1800, when Sambalpur was occupied by the Marathas. After the British occupied Orissa and bitterness between the British and Marathas ripened, the former found a convenient route via Sambalpur and annihilated the Marathas. Sambalpur was occupied by the British on 2nd January, 1804. Finally it passed on to the Brithish in 1817. The subsequent years witnessed the movements of the Kandhas and Binjhal Zamidars against the British and their poppet ruler in Sambalpur was Rani Mohan Kumari. Although the modern concept of nationalism was not activating force, one could see the spirit of freedom and hatred of foreign rule reflected in the struggle. The period recorded the heroic sage of Surendra Sai. (Most renowned freedom fighter from Western Orissa).

Sambalpur district, the western most district of Orissa, had been named after the headquarters town, Sambalpur. According to Mr. L.S.S.O. Maller, the town derived its name from the presiding goddess Samalai, whose stone image was discovered by Balaram Dev, the first Chowhan king of Sambalpur.

The erstwhile Sambalpur District was divided into four districts namely Sambalpur, Bargarh,Jharsuguda and Deogarh in pursuance of Revenue & Excise Department Resolution No 14993/R Dtd 31.03.93 and Resolution No 56413/R Dtd 22.12.93.Bargarh district comprising Bargarh and Padampur Subdivision started functioning with effect from 1.4.1993.Jharsuguda and Deogarh District started functioning w.e.f. 1.1.94.

Samaleswari Temple

Samaleswari Temple is a Hindu temple in Sambalpur, Western Orissa, India dedicated to the goddess known as MAA, also known among the natives as samalei maa, meaning Mother Samaleswari. Shree Shree Samaleswari, the presiding deity of Sambalpur, is a strong religious force in western part of Orissa and Chhattisgarh state of India. On the bank of the river Mahanadi the mother goddess Samaleswari is worshipped from ancient times as Jagatjanani, Adishakti, Mahalaxmi and Mahasaraswati. The region in which the temple is situated has a rich cultural heritage. Sambalpur region is popularly known as Hirakhanda from ancient times. Ptolemy has described the place as Sambalak, according to Tavernir, the French traveller, and Edward Gibbon, the English historian, diamonds were exported to Rome from Sambalpur.

 

samlei mandir

samlei mandir

 

The temple is of Sandhara order. It is built of a kind of stone durable as granite, cemented with lime mortar, the whole building is plastered, but in the course of time the surface has become mouldy. The temple comprises of two separate structures. The square sanctum sanctorum enshrining the deity is four step below the 10’ feet wide covered circumbulation, which is supported by 12 stone pillars. Eleven parswa devis (side Goddness), are embedded on the outer wall of the sanctum, so that the devotees can worhsip those deities during parikarma thourgh the vaulted circumbulation. The Idol of Shree Shree Samalai Devi consists of a large block of Granite rock with an inverted, trunk like projection at the bottom. A shallow cut on her “Baraha” like face symbolises her mouth. Traditinal Sambalpuri nose ornament of pure gold hangs down from her imaginary nose Beaten gold leave fixed on two disproportionate golden eye like depression on the face acts as substitute for her eyes in an attempt to define the face of the mother deity on a mass of self shaped rock, the devi’s idol inspires sublime sentiments of awe, fear, reverence, devotion, love and affection towards all prevading mother hood.

 

samlei maa

samlei maa

She is worshiped with a great care and devotion by the natives in her temple, famously known as the samaleswari temple. Among the varieties of festivals observed before the goddess throughout the year three festivals are observed prominently. The first two are navaratra puja during the months of March and April and during the months of September and October. Among these two navaratra pujas (nine days continuous worship of the goddess) the second one is observed with a great splendour and devotion.

The third festival which is said to be the chief festival of the whole western Orissa (sambalpur) region is nuakhai. In this festival the farmers offer the first produce from their lands to the goddess before using it for his personal use.

Cattle Island

Cattle Island exists in one of the extreme points of Hirakud Reservoir, a natural wonder. It is near Kumarbandh village of Belpahar-Banharpali range which is about 90 km from Sambalpur. By launch from Hirakud Dam, it is closer by 10 km via the river. The island is a submerged hill, and before the construction of Hirakud Dam it was a developed village. During the resettlement period, villagers left some of their cattle behind; when the dam construction was over, the cattle settled on the hilltop. With the passage of time the nearby area filled up with the reservoir water, turning the hilltop into an island. Being away from mankind, the cattle are now wild, very swift and not easily caught. Living on a hilltop with dense forest, they are larger than tame cattle, almost all of which are white in colour. Nearby residents attempt to capture these animals from time to time, but these hunts are rarely successful. Though descended from tame cattle, these animals provide a contrasting picture of this breed of animal returning to life in the wild.